Lisa Bernardin – VBB coordinator
In 1985, I was in a major car accident and sustained significant brain trauma that affected my executive functioning. I had difficulties with problem solving, decision making, and organizational skills. My brain had changed and I was perplexed by the differences in my behavior and wanted to learn more. In 2005, I read a book about the history of brain science, which fascinated me and led me to want to learn more about how the brain can be remodeled. I found out about the International, National and Regional Brain Bees in 2009, when there were about 35 Brain Bees around the country. There was no Brain Bee in Vermont, so I set out to get one established, which required two things: the support of expert neuroscientists in the judging process and at least three high schools participating in the event. My search led to a collaboration with my hometown’s Middlebury College and the University of Vermont, which had excited graduate students and neuroscientists eager to bring this goal to fruition. I then secured participation from three high schools – Champlain Valley Union, Middlebury Union and Mt. Abraham Union High Schools – and on February 13, 2010, we held the first-ever Vermont Brain Bee!
Tony Morielli, Associate Professor of Pharmacology, Director of Graduate Neuroscience Program, University of Vermont. VBB neuroscience judge.
Each year the Vermont Brain Bee gives Vermont high school students the opportunity to work directly with UVM neuroscience undergraduate and graduate students. These interactions start with undergraduate and graduate students teaching high school students using active teaching methods, hands-on work with neuroanatomy samples, and human brain cuttings at our neuroscience boot camps. In sum, the neuroscience boot camp and VBB provide outstanding formats for mutually enriching interactions between the members of the UVM scientific community and the Vermont scientists of the future.